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they’re trying to access. It’s where impressions are made—or fail.
Traditionally, companies have focused on the user experience as
they interacted in expected, or unexpected, ways across the network.
However, just as important, each edge location can also be a portal
for instability and threats. These can come from unintentional side
effects such as attempts to meet high-traffic requirements, physical
infrastructure challenges (e.g., from a natural disaster), or deliberate
attacks from bad actors.
The simple reality is that if your company relies on cloud-hosted
applications, which more and more are these days, internet volatility
now has a greater impact on your business than at any given time in
the past. The large numbers of medium-to-large enterprises that
have been moving into hybrid and multicloud implementations only
magnifies the scope and likelihood of an impact.
For the past few years, medium- to large-sized enterprises have been
transitioning away from doing everything in-house to using hosting
providers to support a sophisticated global presence. This is a natu‐
ral evolution as organizations scale, so this book will touch on the
due diligence they need to perform; the problems they might
encounter; and what they can do to optimize their performance,
security posture, balance workloads, and steer traffic more effi‐
ciently in a hybrid cloud or multicloud environment.
The shift from hosting corporate applications on-premises to using
cloud-based service providers is an accepted practice for doing busi‐
ness today. And, like any key corporate resource, companies need to
safeguard and protect it. Network resiliency (especially at the user
edge) is your insurance policy against internet-based disruptions.
Additionally, more organizations have begun to deploy multicloud
environments using additional vendors or a private infrastructure to
support their businesses. This dynamic will continue to grow, taking
advantage of diversity and performance-based cloud services.
Granted, when you depend on internet services that are a “black
box,” some aspects will be out of your direct control. In those areas,
your business must rely somewhat on trust—trust in those who have
constructed today’s complex internet, trust in the partners you work
with, and trust that the infrastructure you’ve invested in will mostly
work reliably and appropriately. However, trust is not a strategy:
24/7 global businesses face new exposures each day. To combat these
challenges, businesses must take responsibility for resiliency. In this
Chapter 1: Edge Resiliency Is Critical to Your Business
way, they can gain direct control to insure against the risks. And it
all starts by understanding the approaches that you can take to
accomplish this goal.
What You Will Learn
In the remaining chapters, we discuss these approaches and offer
insight and strategies for creating resiliency at the edge. The goal is
to stabilize internet volatility, whatever the source. The critical topics
we cover include the following:
• Recognizing volatility sources
• Optimizing performance and balancing workloads amid inter‐
• Steering traffic more efficiently
• Strengthening your security posture—not just in a traditional
datacenter, but also in a hybrid and/or multicloud environment
• Working with DNS infrastructure, managed DNS, and edge
We discuss common challenges and present clear examples to
demonstrate the benefits of using managed DNS infrastructure to
strengthen edge resiliency. And we offer assessment criteria for
when you are deciding whether to incorporate a managed DNS pro‐
vider into your resiliency strategy. This, will, in turn, provide
options and strengthen your ability to manage, challenge, and work
around any internet threats, disruption, or volatility.
Intended Book Audience
We wrote this book for IT managers to help them proactively enable
a resiliency strategy in the face of planned and unplanned events
from the user edge to the applications and services those users are
trying to reach. Our goal is to help you prevent challenges that could
have a negative impact on customer satisfaction and business out‐
comes. Business leaders must be aware and plan for these challenges
before they happen, because today, our customers, our employees,
and our reputations are all “living on the edge.”
What You Will Learn
Exposing Buried Threats to Your
In today’s always-on, fast-paced, and infinitely connected world,
customers take for granted that networks will just work. Terms such
as high-availability and 99.999% uptime are tossed out as absolutes
in sales conversations and customer engagements. Yet, the basis for
such assertions is uncertain at best and completely unrealistic
without a plan for dealing with services at the edge.
In this chapter, we survey the classes of challenges to the networks
and applications that your business and your users depend on. Iden‐
tifying these challenges can help you to see where you are exposed—
and where you need to focus resources so that your customers aren’t
exposed to the effects of their disruption.
We begin at the lowest level—the systems that underlie the data
channels you depend on.
Vulnerability When the Internet Is Your
The internet is based on a set of strategically connected “backbone”
networks that are based on localized nodes. The nodes are, in turn,
based on other systems and many smaller networks connecting
those devices. The key communication components that allow the
internet to function are managed and owned by a combination of
telecommunications (telco) companies, ISPs, and leased or pur‐
chased fiber implementations that provide connectivity from point
to point—all with their own vulnerabilities. Though these core sys‐
tems are hardened with monitoring and security measures, they are
not entirely insulated from internet volatility due to the multitude of
interwoven and interconnected parts.
Even in an environment in which you pay for dedicated cloud serv‐
ices, the public transit network is rarely within your control beyond
the terms of service. The immediate network resources your busi‐
ness relies on might be totally owned and managed by the cloud
provider. Or they might be dependent on or farmed out to a combi‐
nation of multiple private companies that depend on other vendors.
Each link in this critical chain must plan for and manage potential
impacts, such as scheduled maintenances, aging equipment, turn‐
over of support staff, and evolving technology.
Even if the network components are managed and sound, that in
itself is not enough. Today’s businesses don’t just run directly on a
physical box in a datacenter. More and more applications and envi‐
ronments are being virtualized, losing the distinction of how and
where exactly they run. In this kind of ephemeral environment, it is
more important than ever that we understand the virtual network
landscape. This is the subject of our next section.
Virtualization and Outsourcing of Services
Above the core of your network are the systems and applications
that run your business. You might still have some dedicated hard‐
ware within the territory that you own and operate, but these days it
is more common for the systems to be virtualized and running in
the hosted cloud. As long as you have a basic “map” to guide you as
your applications are deployed, you might feel that you have fewer
concerns. But, at the same time, you have less control because you
can’t always get to the actual systems themselves given that the cloud
provider manages them. This paradoxical “less is more” implemen‐
tation forms another point of interplay with your edge services that
must be considered.
Perceptions in these areas have had to evolve along with the tech‐
nologies. A few short decades ago, it was common for companies to
have large datacenters with on-premises hardware and staff to man‐
age the targeted needs of the business. Problems were usually local‐
Chapter 2: Exposing Buried Threats to Your Business Network